How To Guide

Technical help for our tiling products

Please refer to our ‘How To Guide’ throughout your tiling process.

Before Ordering

It is important to measure the tiling area before ordering to ensure you have sufficient material. Measuring the area allows you to calculate the quantity of tile needed in square meters. You will need to factor in 10% for cuts and waste to ensure that you do not run short. If you are ordering online please read the following information. This will ensure that you are ordering the correct products to suit your needs. Alternatively contact us and we will be happy to do the hard work for you. We are able to deliver worldwide and offer a fast and reliable transportation service. We dispatch all of our deliveries from our warehouse to suit your delivery date. Deliveries are between 9am-5pm Monday – Friday. It is important that you inform us of any access restrictions as deliveries will be by HGV.

Before Installation

We pack all our tiles so that the crates are water tight. This prevents adhesives and grouts from being damaged. However, some tiles are packed when wet due to various finishing processes. As a result, it is important to remove the tiles and give them a wipe down to remove residue. Following this, allow the tiles to dry prior to commencing tiling. For uncalibrated tiles (such as the Lonsdale Slate Farmhouse Flags) it is helpful to grade them into thicknesses. Lay the thickest flags first to start the level, then bed up the thinner flags as necessary.

Whilst grading, it is also helpful to pick out tiles with markings and use these for cuts or place in prime position. Being natural materials, there will be variations in the tiles. Therefore, it is important to select tiles carefully to give a consistent distribution of colours and variations. It is normal to have a few chips and marks due to packing and unpacking. This is to be expected and it is standard practice for these tiles to be used for cuts.

Adhesive & Adhesive Selection

It is paramount to choose the correct adhesive to suit your substrate. Therefore, the first thing to ascertain is exactly what surface you are tiling onto. To choose the correct adhesive please see below. Due to the large number of substrates, it is not possible to list the correct preparation methods for each one. Instead, please give us a call to discuss your situation or enlist the help of a professional tiler.

When tiling floors, a solid bed of adhesive must be in place. Therefore, using the right trowel is important. A notched 10mm (solid bed trowel) is often sufficient. With larger format uncalibrated tiles, it may be necessary to increase the notch size.

Always follow the manufacturers instructions and never re-wet the adhesive as this will compromise the performance. Some tiles (such as Travertine) may require “buttering” the back face of the tile to fill small voids.

On light coloured stones, always use a white adhesive as grey can leach into some porous stones and discolour the surface. We have a range of rapid and standard set adhesives to suit material and situation. Some adhesives are ideal for fast laying, where others are suitable for porous stones to disperse the water quicker. This prevents issues with water retention in the stone.

If you have any questions regarding adhesive choice then please feel free to call us on 01539 822666. Alternatively, call the Mapei Technical helpline on 0121 508 6970.

Grout

Mapei Ultracolor Plus is a fast setting and flexible grout. It is suitable for grout gaps from 2mm to 20mm, so is ideal for nearly all applications. When floor tiling, the minimum advised joint is 3mm to allow for lateral movement. If laying a pattern, it should be noted that not all the gaps will be consistent due to the nature of the pattern. This is to be expected.

On some porous or cleft tiles it is necessary to seal the tiles post fixing and prior to grouting. This eases the cleaning off process. Furthermore, it also stops any potential leaching of the grout colour, resulting in “picture framing” of the tiles. RR Stone Ultima Seal is ideal for this, being fast drying and easy to apply.

When grouting, it is important to not over-wet the grout as this can cause it to change colour. In particularly large areas of tiling, it is necessary to include movement joints. Their inclusion and frequency can depend on various factors so please call us if you are unsure.

Sealing

It isn’t 100% necessary to seal natural stone if you do not wish to. Nevertheless, we would always recommend that you do. All natural stones are porous in varying degrees, meaning that they are susceptible to staining. Sealing the stone correctly can help prevent stains, mould, mildew, etc. It also makes cleaning and maintenance of your investment easier.

There are two main categories of seal – Topical and Impregnator (some can be both). A Topical sealer is one that forms a protective barrier on the surface of the stone. As the name suggests, an Impregnator impregnates the pores of the stone and fills them. This prevents anything else infiltrating the stone. It is important to chose the right sealant to suit your application. Some sealers will enhance the stone and darken it and some will leave the stone unchanged. Please see our sealant selector to choose the right one for your needs.

It is often helpful to seal the tiles prior to grouting. This will aid in the removal of grout residue from the surface. Once clean, the tiles and grout can then be sealed again. It is usually necessary for two coats of sealant on most stones, however some porous stones can require more. One way to test is to place a teaspoon of water onto the surface. Allow the water to absorb for 10 minutes – if it disappears within this period, the surface requires further treatment.

For further instructions on how to apply specific sealants, please feel free to contact us by email or ring us on 01539 822666.

Underfloor Heating

It is vitally important that any under floor heating systems are fully commissioned prior to tiling. If you are in any doubt concerning the moisture level of a screed or it is developing stress cracks, we recommend using a decoupling membrane. After tiling, do not turn on the UFH for at least a week to allow the adhesives, grout and sealant to cure fully. When turning on the UFH after tiling it should be turned to its minimum setting and increased by 5 degrees per day until you have reached your desired temperature.